Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

I was pleasantly surprised by the first Hotel Transylvania, and while its sequel left more to be desired I was still willing to give Hotel Transylvania 3 a shot at redeeming the franchise. Summer Vacation exchanges the hotel for a cruise ship as it brings the ridiculous exploits of Dracula and his family to the high seas. It’s a fun family-friendly film that kids will get a kick out of but may leave parents wanting more.


Having run his monster hotel for over a century, Dracula (Adam Sandler) is in dire need of a vacation himself so his thoughtful daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) books a cruise for the entire family so they can spend some quality time with one another. Together with Johnny (Andy Samberg), Dennis (Asher Blinkoff), and the rest of the monster clan, they board a ship that caters specifically for monsters and embark on what’s supposed to be a relaxing vacation. As it turns out, the cruise is led by Captain Ericka Van Helsing (Kathryn Hahn), the great granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) who has been hunting Dracula and other monsters since the late 19th century. The cruise is just a guise to get all the monsters together so the Van Helsing family can rid the world of them once and for all, but when Dracula starts to fall in love with Ericka things become a little more complicated.


Like a cruise, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is a nice little getaway of entertainment. The animation is wonderful and there are some genuinely funny moments, like when Ericka’s attempts to kill Dracula are continually thwarted by Blobby or Dennis’ giant pet puppy Tinkles (Joe Whyte). Much of the film is extremely basic however, and it clearly leans towards a younger crowd. The entire plot revolves around Dracula “zinging” for Ericka, which is the equivalent of love at first sight. It’s cute for kids, but older adults might become bored rather quickly.


Three films into the franchise and Summer Vacation knows exactly the audience it’s shooting for. I don’t think we’ll ever recreate the magic of the first Hotel Transylvania, but this one is charming enough to keep things alive for the time being. More importantly for parents, it’ll keep you kids occupied for an hour and a half.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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